New York Independent Schools Could Face Greater Public Oversight Under Proposed Rules

Curricula and faculty at independent schools in New York could face greater scrutiny from local school districts under proposed rules from the State Education Department.

Independent and private school leaders say the state would overstep its boundaries if the regulations passed, Buffalo News reported. The issue gained increased attention after questions arose about a lack of secular education at yeshivas, or Jewish schools that primarily focus on religious studies, according to the Rockland/Westchester Journal News.

State law already requires nonpublic schools to provide “substantially equivalent” education to students to what is taught in public schools, but the new rules could increase the ability to oversee nonpublic schools.

The department says the proposed regulations would “ensure that all students receive the education to which they are entitled under the law.” The following rules, among others, were proposed in May:

  • New schools would be reviewed within three years of operation and that existing schools by reviewed by the end of the 2022-23 school year or as soon as practicable thereafter and regularly thereafter
  • Provides due process to the nonpublic school throughout the substantial equivalency process
  • Focuses on providing instruction in subject areas required by law and does not include reference to the state learning standards
  • Allows for integrated curriculum that delivers content by incorporating more than one subject into the content of a course

The state has not provided details on exactly how the regulations would affect independent and private schools or how they would be implemented. The education department will send the proposed regulations to the Board of Regents this fall, according to Buffalo News.

A public comment period will run through September 2.

Kelsey Landis is editor-in-chief of DiversityIS.